Dow Jones Industrial Average Higher on Payrolls Blowout

Payrolls and wages rose by a better-than-expected rate last month

Feb 6, 2015 at 11:46 AM
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:DJI) is up roughly 48 points, or 0.3%, at midday, amid a perfect bullish storm. For starters, January payrolls increased by 257,000 -- easily exceeding estimates of 237,000 -- and wage growth arrived above economists' forecast. Although this increases speculation the Fed could raise interest rates sooner rather than later, it's giving a boost to blue-chip financials Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM). Elsewhere, a continued rebound in oil, as well as earnings-induced rallies for tech names LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is helping to buoy investor sentiment -- although the same can't be said for Pandora Media Inc (NYSE:P) and Yelp Inc (NYSE:YELP).

Continue reading for more on today's market -- and don't miss:

Midday Market Stats

Among the stocks with notable call volume is Beijing-based online real estate firm SouFun Holdings Ltd (NYSE:SFUN), where the contracts are crossing the tape at 110 times what's typically seen at this point in the day. Buy-to-open activity has been detected at the equity's February 7 call, as traders roll the dice on an extended move north of $7 by expiration at the close on Friday, Feb. 20 -- a time frame which includes next Tuesday morning's earnings report. On the charts, SFUN is extending Wednesday's analyst-induced momentum, and was last seen 7.5% higher at $7.01.

For more midday statistics and stocks on the move, head to page 2.

Exelis Inc (NYSE:XLS) is leading the way on the Big Board, on news the aerospace issue will be acquired by Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS). After hitting an all-time high of $24.34 earlier, the stock was last seen up 35.1% at $23.92 -- exceeding HRS' per-share buyout bid.

IT issue ePlus Inc. (NASDAQ:PLUS) is one of the biggest advancers on the Nasdaq. The stock is up 17.5% at $3.94 -- and earlier topped out at a record peak of $85 -- after the company's better-than-expected fiscal third-quarter earnings report was met with a pair of bullish brokerage notes. Specifically, Canaccord Genuity raised its price target by $10 to $85, while Stifel boosted its target price by $8 to $78. Both firms underscored their respective "buy" ratings.

Daily Chart of PLUS Since January 2014

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) is down 0.3 point, or 1.9%, at 16.53, and on pace for a 21% week-over-week loss.

Today's put/call volume ratio on the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) is 1.34, with puts outstripping calls. At last check, SPY is up 0.9 points, or 0.5%, at $207.05.

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